Chambers: Local, county property taxes

Danny L. Chambers
Somervell County Judge
County Judge Danny Chambers

Our elected officials in Austin want to always pass blame on to local governments for the property taxes you pay. They tell you that the tax rate is set by local government, which is true, but they fail to tell you the state’s involvement with the value of your properties.

The state has what they call a Property Value Study, which dictates to your local appraisal districts what the value of your property should be. If your appraisal district fails to meet the state’s ratios over a two-year period, then the state can take additional money from your school district.

If your appraisal district does not comply within the two-year period then the state threatens to come in and take over the appraisals for that county and assign a conservator. The state currently wants Somervell County to raise its values 8-10% or more to comply with its ratios.

As you well know, the tax rate set is only a portion of the equation when it comes to taxes you pay. The tax rate is applied to the value, which is dictated by the state.

Let me give you an example: In Somervell County, homes that are currently valued at $160,000 to $235,000 make up $84.734 million of the tax roll according to the local appraisal district. The state says the same group should be valued at $93.207 million.

As you can see, that is a difference of $8.473 million that the state wants added to the current value. So even if the tax rate stays the same or even lowers, as long as the state continues to drive values up, the taxpayer loses.

Pay close attention to what your main elected leaders in Austin are saying. They are talking out of both sides of their mouth. The leaders in Austin want to pass blame while they are truly the problem. Do your research and form your own opinion.

Danny Chambers is the Somervell County judge. He may be reached at (254) 897-2322.